Florida’s Risk Protection Order: A Vital Tool for Safety

A risk protection order is a measure designed to help an individual in crisis, and the people around them, to stay safe from gun violence.  

A risk protection order, also called an RPO, is a court order that temporarily restricts a person’s access to guns when they pose a significant danger to themselves or others. It is designed to help law enforcement intervene quickly in dangerous situations.

Florida Protection Order FAQs

Have a question about Florida's risk protection order?

See below to download these FAQs as a PDF

If you are concerned that someone you know is at risk of harming themself or others, your first step should be to contact a member of law enforcement and discuss your concerns with them. Law enforcement can then investigate your concerns and request a risk protection order from the court.




Under Florida law, only a law enforcement officer or agency may file a petition for a risk protection order.

Once the court receives a request (called a “petition”) for a risk protection order, the court will notify the person and schedule a court hearing about whether the order should be issued.

If, at the hearing, a court finds that a person poses a significant danger of causing injury to themselves or others by having access to firearms or ammunition, the judge can issue a court order that requires the person’s firearms to be held by law enforcement for as long as the order is in effect. Under certain circumstances, the person may choose to transfer their guns being held by law enforcement to a third party who is legally allowed to hold them.

Also, the person will not be able to purchase new firearms while the order is in effect.

Concern for the safety of the person, or of the public may demand that action be taken before the scheduled hearing date, to prevent immediate danger.  

To protect a person or public safety during this time, a judge may issue a temporary risk protection order that restricts a person’s access to firearms before the person has been notified of the petition, and before a full hearing is held.

In Florida, an emergency risk protection order is called a temporary order and only lasts until the court hearing on a final risk protection order. 

Because temporary orders only stay in place for a short period of time—up to 14 days—these orders balance the urgent need for public safety with the due process rights of all involved.

A final risk protection order lasts for a period of up to one year. At the end of the year, law enforcement may ask the court to renew the order. The order can only be extended after a court hearing.

No. A risk protection order is a civil court order. Its sole purpose is to remove firearms from a person who is at high risk of causing harm to themselves or to others. The court’s decision to issue the order does not cause the person to have a criminal record.

Even if you don’t fall into any of the categories mentioned above, you can still take action in moments of crisis. If you are worried about someone who is showing warning signs of being at risk of self-harm or harming someone else, you can contact a law enforcement officer and ask that they seek a risk protection order.

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